I think I'm starting to understand how people felt when TITANIC came out and they just couldn't get what the fuss is about.
It isn't that I don't like vampire movies, and it isn't even that I don't like stories about brooding "olden days" vampires as protectors and love interests of contemporary young women. I am a devot&eeacute;e of True Blood after all
. It isn't even that I don't like brooding, pale, scrawny English emo guys with cheekbones like mandolines
. The first time I saw Michael Winterbottom's adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure
I cried for three weeks straight.
So I really should be one of those Twilight women, shouldn't I? So what is it that when I tried to watch the first movie when it ran on one of the premium channels, instead of wanting to have sex with Robert Pattinson, or even cook soup for him (the latter of which which tends to be my age-appropriate response to such young men these days), all I wanted to do to Robert Pattinson was smack him across the face and say, "Snap out of it!" the way Cher does to Nicolas Cage in Moonstruck
I'm surrounded by these women at work. And they aren't all young. These Bellawoods are young and old and black and white and all of them smart -- and they just LOVE Twilight
. Maybe it's that I'm getting old and crabby and tired of the whole emo thing. MY favorite guy on True Blood
is Sam Merlotte
the Shapeshifter. After all, what could be better than a devoted, loyal guy who not only has his own successful business but can also turn into a really cute dog at will? Of course Sam is pretty emo too, but nowhere near the level of Courtly Bill Compton -- or the sheer whininess of Pasty McPattinson as Sir Edward the Chaste.
Perhaps that's it after all -- the chastity thing. It's no secret that Stephenie Meyer is a Mormon, and the Twilight
books are an abstinence parable. But if you're going to talk about abstinence, why not set your novel during some long-ago time when courtliness and chastity-until-marriage were actual behaviors of the time? (Except they really weren't.) The most popular contemporary vampire stories have always been about the eroticism. As cartoonish as Bela Lugosi seems now in Tod Browning's 1931 Dracula
, the shot of him leaning over a swooning woman is still pretty hot. And what girl wouldn't fall for a guy who could turn tears into diamonds and turn wolves into really cute dogs and say things like "I have crossed oceans of time to find you", the way Gary Oldman does in Bram Stoker's Dracula
. And as annoying as Bill Compton has become on True Blood
, with snarky Eric Northman becoming a far more interesting character, you've gotta admit that the hot-sex-in-the-dirt scene in Season I had a lot more vamp appeal than the depressive chastity of the Twilight
The vampire genre has always been about sex, and while part of me thinks the idea of turning that on its ear is delightfully counterintuitive, watching a bunch of women in their thirties and forties go nuts over this pasty-faced boy is just nuts.
At least in 1997, Leonardo DiCaprio was plucky and brave and cheerful, even if he did look fourteen.
Labels: movies, pop culture